The Chief of Staff in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Mr Julius Debrah, has denied a statement made by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to the effect that he had to persuade the losing candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Mr John Mahama, the incumbent at the time, to concede and leave office.
“At the conclusion of the last presidential and parliamentary elections, the country [Ghana] stood on the edge of disaster”, the revered Asante monarch told the UN General Assembly recently about the important role traditional leaders play in the political and democratic dispensation.
“The UN representatives and the diplomatic community were aghast, alarmed that Ghana was going to slip down the slope of electoral violence.
“Fortunately, the moral authority of the palace was at hand. We were able to intervene to persuade the losing candidate to accept his fate and fly both candidates for a quiet encounter to pave the way for a handover,” recounted Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
In a statement, however, Mr Debrah, said: “I state without equivocation that the decision to concede and congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo even before the official results were declared was taken by President Mahama himself without any persuasion from any quarter. On the day President Mahama willingly conceded defeat, he met with then-Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, NDC Chairman Kofi Portuphy, General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia, together with some high-ranking members of the party and informed them of his decision to call and congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo”.
He recounted that: “Following the meeting with the party, he called a number of personalities including President Jerry John Rawlings, President John Agyekum Kufuor, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, National Chief Imam Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, Rev. Ernest Agyei of the Ringway Assemblies of God Church and Archbishop Duncan-Williams.
“As Otumfuo himself has already stated publicly, under his auspices, there were three meetings held in Kumasi between President Mahama and then-Candidate/President-Elect Nana Akufo-Addo during the period,” the statement said.
“The first was prior to the December 7 election in which the two candidates promised to play fair and respect the will of the people. Indeed, President Mahama in a conversation with Nana Akufo-Addo said he hoped Nana was not going to tie down the nation in a court case again after the 2016 elections.
“The other two meetings took place after the official declaration of the results of the elections, and to re-emphasise, after President Mahama had publicly conceded and congratulated Nana Akufo-Addo. Those two meetings focused on matters arising out of the transition process.
“President Mahama made a commitment to the people of Ghana, never to be the one to subject them to the periods of unease, political instability and the doubts they experienced after the 2008 and 2012 elections. He remained true to that commitment and exemplified it after the 2016 elections”.